Monday, March 27, 2006

Based On A True Story Inspired By Actual Events

My family and I went to see the movie "Eight Below" this weekend. It was a great movie and I highly recommend it. The opening of the movie had a line that just got me thinking. "Inspired by a true story". It made me think about how many times I've seen that before a movie or something similar such as, "Based on a true story" or "Based on actual events". I find it somewhat ironic that we have these true events that need a little embellishing to make them entertaining. Don't get me wrong, I don't think there is anything wrong with that. Who knows, I may not have enjoyed "Eight Below" as much if they told the story exactly as it actually played out. But what is it about truth that it sometimes just isn't enough? Are we surrounded by so much stimuli that truth just comes across as too boring? Maybe I see truth as too "possible" and that just doesn't grab me. I don't know what it is. I've also been reading a series of fictional books that have really sucked me in and I find myself having the same problem there. Everyday, I can't wait to get some quiet time to read. When the time finally comes, I reach into the basket beside my chair and grab my fictional book....sitting right next to my Bible.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


O.K., here's the scenario. In the restroom where I work, there is a paper towel dispenser on the wall just to the left of the sink. About three weeks ago, the dispenser was removed, for what reason, I don't know. They didn't feel the need to inform me. But anyway, imagine my surprise the first time I washed my hands, I turned to the left as usual to dry them and "Bam", no paper towels. I stood there confused, not knowing what to do. This is not the way things are supposed to be. I wash my hands and the paper towels are supposed to be right there! After I calmed down a bit, I took action. I looked around and found that the roll of towels had been placed on a shelf on the back wall of the restroom. I dried my hands and wondered, what could have happened to the dispenser? "Well", I thought, "hopefully they will get this fixed soon. This is very inconvenient." I mean, the roll is now like 5 feet from the sink! That makes no sense!

As days went by with no new paper towel holder, one thing amazed me. I knew the holder wasn't there. I would even walk in and see the empty spot on the wall. But each time when I finished washing my hands, I would immediately turn to my left and reach for a towel. I don't know what irritated me more, that there were no towels where they were supposed to be or that I continued to reach for towels that I knew weren't there. Habits can be hard to break. Change is tough!

I decided then that this was just silly. I mean, here I am getting distressed over something so small as paper towels being moved. There are much bigger issues to worry about. So I decided that I would not let these petty things get to me. From that day forward, I was going to be a changed man, no more complaining. When change comes my way, I'm just gonna embrace it and roll! Mister easy going, take life as it comes. Yeah, that's me.

Well, yesterday they installed the new paper towel dispenser in the restroom. So now things are back to normal, except the lever on this new dispenser is alot harder to pull than the old one was............

As we journey through life, I think it's important to take some time every once in a while to laugh at yourself.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

In His Image

I just read an article about a study showing that babies are altruistic ( I have to admit, I didn't know what the word meant until I read the article).   It was pretty interesting so I have copied some of the high points:

Oops, the scientist dropped his clothespin.   Not to worry — a wobbly toddler raced to help, eagerly handing it back.   The simple experiment shows the capacity for altruism emerges as early as 18 months of age.

Toddlers' endearing desire to help out actually signals fairly sophisticated brain development, and is a trait of interest to anthropologists trying to tease out the evolutionary roots of altruism and cooperation.

Psychology researcher Felix Warneken performed a series of ordinary tasks in front of toddlers, such as hanging towels with clothespins or stacking books.  Sometimes he "struggled" with the tasks; sometimes he deliberately messed up.

Over and over, whether Warneken dropped clothespins or knocked over his books, each of 24 toddlers offered help within seconds — but only if he appeared to need it.  Video shows how one overall-clad baby glanced between Warneken's face and the dropped clothespin before quickly crawling over, grabbing the object, pushing up to his feet and eagerly handing back the pin.

Warneken never asked for the help and didn't even say "thank you," so as not to taint the research by training youngsters to expect praise if they helped.  After all, altruism means helping with no expectation of anything in return.
And — this is key — the toddlers didn't bother to offer help when he deliberately pulled a book off the stack or threw a pin to the floor, Warneken, of Germany's Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology, reports Thursday in the journal Science.

This really shouldn't surprise me.  After all, we are "Created in His Image" (Genesis 1:26).

And Jesus called a little child and had him stand among them.  And He said:  "I tell you the truth, Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven.  Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven." (Matthew 18:3-4)